Roger Norman and his No. 8 Wide Open Excursions, Crystal Bay Casino Trophy Truck has always finished the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 — and the 2011 race was no different.
After fighting multiple setbacks, where many would have called the race, Norman and co-drivers Dick Grey and JT Taylor persevered to get to the finish line.
“I have never not finished a Baja 1000,” said Norman, owner of the Crystal Bay Casino. “This one had a lot of challenges, though. If we wouldn’t have had all of these issues, I know we would have been on the podium.”
Norman worked down the list of obstacles that the Norman Motorsports team overcame.
“Five miles out of our main pit we hit a rock that broke the bead lock off the wheel, which lost air pressure, so we had to change a tire … Then the right front shock shaft broke at the base, which in turn broke the brake line, so we had no brakes,” Norman said. “But luckily it didn’t damage anything else.”
The Norman Motorsports team came out to put a fresh shock on and saw that the trophy truck had two studs broken on the rear wheel hub. After fixing both, the front shocks lost all nitrogen.
“I have no idea how, but we were running on springs,” Norman said. “We were down to 20 mph at some of the rougher spots.”
Norman and crew made it to the next pit, where they discovered that the heat exchanger had a giant crack in it and the radiator was almost completely empty. With a simple fix, they were again on their way.
But there was another issue, as Norman explained.
“We have a tranny cooler up in back by the radiator that doesn’t get airflow unless we have enough wind, and with the new Vision X roof lights it was getting blocked. So since we didn’t want to take the lights off in the middle of the desert, and we weren’t in the contention for the win, we babied it and had to stop a whole bunch of times when it reached 290 degrees to let it cool.”
At the last pit the team took off the lights, after which they were able to run full race speed to the finish. Norman, Grey and Taylor finished 17th with a time of 20 hours and 8 minutes. They were third overall the previous year.
Norman Motorsports will be in attendance at all the HDRA Off-Road Racing events in 2012, the SCORE Baja 500 and SCORE Baja 1000.
— This article is courtesy of Bower Motorsports Media.